Plant retrofit bids awarded |

Plant retrofit bids awarded

Tri-State selects Jersey company for $58.2 million upgrade project

Ryan Sheridan

The debate about whether the economy is slowing down may go on indefinitely, but beginning next summer, Craig is going to see a significant influx of workers and money, so questions about the softness of the stock market will seem pretty moot for most people.

The builders will be coming to town.

And not just builders, but also insulators, electricians and technicians will arrive in Craig to work on the baghouse retrofits for stations one and two at the Craig Station power plant.

The Sierra Club filed a class-action lawsuit against the Craig Station in 1996 alleging the plant exceeded visible pollution limits outlined by the Clean Air Act approximately 14,000 times between 1991 and 1996.

The two came to terms in early January on a settlement agreement that requires the plant’s owners to invest $100 million to $160 million in upgrades.

Last week, Tri-State Generation and Transmission awarded a $58.2 million contract to Hamone Research-Cottrell of New Jersey for the design, construction and installation of baghouses on stations one and two. The work is staggered with construction on Unit 1 to start no later than December of 2002, and on Unit 2 no later than August of 2003.

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“This contract covers the major feature of the work that stems from the settlement [from the Sierra Club lawsuit],” said Jim Van Sommeran, spokesman for Tri-State. “The other work will mostly be retrofitting and redesigning on other related pieces of the plant the air handling systems, the scrubbers. But, the contract with Hamone is the major piece. We are right on schedule. Actually we’re beating some deadlines for getting this project organized.”

The contract with Hamone Research-Cottrell will be broken up into different pieces, with other sub-contracts being awarded to various companies. There are also six other contracts that have yet to be awarded for projects related to the retrofit project.

Next summer, in preparation for the construction of the baghouses, the preliminary foundation and concrete work will start, and from there on in, Craig will see an steady influx of workers, and their dollars.

“The work on this project will be done during normal maintenance outages. When a station is shut down for regularly-scheduled maintenance, construction on the new baghouse for that station will be done at the same time,” Van Somerran said. “For a regular maintenance outage, there are 100 or more workers in addition to our regular work force. When the construction is going on, Hamone estimates another 300 workers will be there doing work on the retrofit.”

One local company that has been awarded some of the work through Hamone Research-Cottrell is Antelope Construction. The contract has not been signed, but Antelope’s involvement was part of the bid Hamone Research-Cottrell submitted to Tri-State.

“We were recommended by Tri-State to Hamone. We’ve been working with [Tri-State] since 1975,” said Gerry Roberts, superintendent of Antelope Construction. “We’ll be using all the local workers that we can; after using up all those in certain fields, we’ll bring in union workers from other areas. With boilermaker craftsman, we have five or six here in Craig, and we’ll need to get others from Denver. There are pipefitters down in Grand Junction which we’ll need to bring up. We’ll be bringing in contractors carpenters, electricians, insulators.”

Antelope Construction plans to employ 75 workers continuously once its construction duties begin. That number will swell to 150 for connection and pre-operation work, Roberts said.

Antelope Construction will formally sign the contract with Hamone Research-Cottrell on Aug. 8.

Another local company that could be working at the power plant is DeVoge Electric, Inc. DeVoge Electric has submitted a bid to Hamone Research-Cottrell, but the contract has not been awarded.

The Craig Station is the largest coal-fired power plant in Colorado. Unit 3 is fully owned by Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Units 1 and 2 are owned by Tri-State Generation and Transmission, 24 percent; Salt River Project of Phoenix, Ariz., 29 percent; PacifiCorp of Portland, Ore., 19.3 percent; Platte River Power Authority of Fort Collins, Colo.; 18 percent, and Excel Energy of Denver (formerly Public Service of Colorado), 9.7 percent.

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